2015-09-30

30Sep15: Completed work on the Siena lute book (ca. 1590). It contains 155 pieces, mostly by Francesco da Milano and contemporaries with a similar polyphonic style — a truly wonderful collection. I am greatly indebted to Jason Kortis, who encoded the vast majority of the pieces in 2003 — a major piece of work taking more than four months — to Arthur Ness, John Robinson, and others, who helped me finding source documents for the pieces and helped identify many of the untitled or unattributed pieces. Most of the pieces are fantasies or ricercars, but there are 22 intabulations of French chansons and a very few dances. Only some of the pieces are titled or attributed, but many have been identified from other sources. All the pieces are for 6-course lute, except at the end of the MS there are several unmeasured pieces for 7-course lute which present a considerable interpretive challenge, as they also contain many puzzling rhythm notations. I did the best I could, but I also included unmeasured versions of these pieces that are unedited apart from a few corrections of wrong notes.05Sep15: Posted an edition of John Danyel “Songs for the lute, viol, and voice” (1605), with its facsimile. These are songs of amazing quality, quite comparable to Dowland at his best. It is a shame that so little of Danyel’s music survives. His lyrics are very interesting and intelligent , and his settings display an excellent sense of counterpoint, in which each part has its own interest, yet all easily playable. Also, his text underlay is meticulous; the poetry fits the words perfectly, in all the parts. A couple of the pieces use alternate tunings. I have made arrangements of these in standard tunings.

27Aug15: Completed work on Corkine’s Second book of ayres (1612), containing 
18 lute songs and 12 pieces for lyra viol, including one duet. I made arrangements of these for 7-course lute. This includes one rather extraordinary lute song, and which the singer tries to dissuade a maiden from her vow of life-long chastity. The argument is that if she does not put out, she is doomed to the eternal shame of dancing in hell with bob-tail apes, and that she would be better off lying with every passing peasant than to suffer that fate. There is also a vocal intabulation of the popular tune “Come live with me and be my love”, with words attributed to Christopher Marlowe. I took the liberty of creating a lute song version of this piece.20Aug15: Posted an edition of William Corkine’s First booke of ayres (1610). This contains 12 lute songs and 12 solo works for lyra viol, all high quality and relatively free of errors. I also made arrangements for 7-course lute for the lyra viol pieces. I also posted facsimiles of his first and second book of ayres. These are of quite poor quality, necessitating some judgment calls in making the edition.

08Aug15: Posted Sixt Kargel’s book (
Novae Elegantissimae… 1574) in French tab, and a very clean facsimile of same in Italian tab. The book has very few errors in the original. It starts with 4 fantasies by the composer and proceeds with vocal intabulations of chansons, madrigals, napolitane, motets, and passemezzi. Most are by Ordando di Lasso. All are somewhat challenging to play because of the diminutions and occasional high positions they contain, but of high quality. It includes an interesting version of Susanne ung jour, written in a major “key” instead of the customary minor.

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